© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated
Three men will compete for Canada in the 3,000m steeple chase during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. There are just two events where Athletics Canada is fielding the maximum number of allowable participants, the women’s 800m event and the men’s 3,000msc. The athletes are Matthew Hughes of Oshawa, Ontario, Chris Winter of Vancouver, BC and Taylor Milne of Guelph, Ontario. The latter two are coached by Dave Scott-Thomas from the University of Guelph and the Speed River Track Club. Hughes is coached by Wynn Gmitroski of Victoria, who is the lead coach at the Victoria High Performance Centre.
Winter is hot off of a brand new personal best showing from his performance in Lucerne, Switzerland on June 15th, where he ran the steeple event in the time of 8:28.17, timing couldn’t be better for this season. He is now well experienced with competing in international championship racing. During 2013, he competed in the Moscow IAAF World Track and Field Championships as well as the IAAF World Cross Country Championships that took place in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Four times he competed in the world junior championships in cross country and track and field. For varsity, Winter ran for the University of Oregon Ducks until 2009.
Hughes is the Canadian record holder in this event with a personal best time of 8:11.64, which he set at the 2013 IAAF Moscow World Track and Field Championships. The previous record was held by Graeme Fell and was 8:12.5 from 1985. He also owns a strong 5,000m best of 13:28.46, which he accomplished in May of 2014, so like Winter he is rounding into form at the right time. Hughes has competed in two IAAF World Cross Country and Track and Field Championships, each. His best showing to date is his sixth place finish at the Moscow Worlds.
Hughes competed in the NCAA for both the Clemson Tigers as well as the University of Louisville Cardinals. For Louisville, he twice captured the 3,000ms national championship (NCAA Division 1) title at the 2010 and 2011 outdoor championships. He is a Canadian champion and owns the Louisville school record of 8:24.87.
Milne is the veteran of the three. He previously was an international competitor in the 1500m distance and competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games; however failed to achieve standard for the 2012 London Olympic Games. His personal best at the distance is 3:36.00, while his 3,000msc best, which he accomplished in 2014, is 8:27.81. The 32-year-old graduated from High Point University and is now a coach with the University of Guelph Gryphons. He owns the Canadian 2,000m record at 5:01.57.
The standards that need to be achieved for Canadian men to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in this event are 8:26 and 8:32, respectively for the “A” and “B” standards, as well as they need to compete at the 2014 National Track and Field Championships that took place in Moncton, New Brunswick. Hughes, Winter and Milne finished 1-2-3 in the event, to solidify their selection to the team. Hughes easily won in the time of 8:32.33, while Milne finished in 8:37.88 and Winter 8:39.21.
During the 2012 London Olympic Games steeple Kenyan Esekiel Kemboi won in the time of 8:18.56, while Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad finished second in 8:19.08. Third place went to Abel Kiprop Mutai of Kenya in 8:19.73.
Winning times can vary greatly in this event, as in the Athens games of 2004, Kemboi won in the time of 8:05.81. Four years later Kenyan Brimin Kiprop Kipruto won in 8:10.34.
Kenya seems to perpetually dominate this event. During the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games the country rolled out three finishers to go 1-2-3. Richard Mateelong won in 8:16.39, while Kemboi took silver in 8:18.47and Kipruto 8:19.65.
The world record is held by the legendary Italian coach Renato Canova’s Qatari-based athlete Saif Saeed Shaheen with his result of 7:53.63. Kipruto owns the second-fastest time of 7:53.64, while countryman Paul Kipsiele Koech has run as fast as 7:54.31.